The geometry of meandering rivers

I regularly watch the Science Friday video podcast. This week they had an interesting piece on potamology (OK, I just learned that word and wanted to use it in my post: potamology is the scientific study of rivers). The podcast showcased the work Christian Braudrick and Bill Dietrich of University of California, Berkeley, who achieved…

Legendre who?

In Chapter 10 of my book, Euler’s Gem, I give Adrien-Marie Legendre‘s beautiful proof of Euler’s polyhedron formula: for any (convex) polyhedron with V vertices, E edges, and F faces, V-E+F=2. His use of spherical geometry to prove the theorem is extremely elegant. On page 88 I include the portrait of Legendre shown at right….

Oops.

Ha, ha, oops. I’ve got a blog for each of my classes and today I posted the homework for my Real Analysis class here at my Division by Zero blog. Oops. To be honest, I don’t know how it hasn’t happened earlier. I just deleted the post, so maybe you won’t see it. If you…

Math in literature

I’ve been reading some classic literature lately and was interested to see mathematics show up two of these works. Last week I read Voltaire’s Candide (1759). One of the main characters is the ridiculous Dr. Pangloss, who subscribes to Leibniz’s philosophy of optimism (or Voltaire’s take on optimism). Leibniz believed in a good and omnipotent…